Greek Fest at St Paraskevi's Orthodox Church
By Chris O'Neill
The annual Greek Fest at St. Paraskevi's Greek Orthodox Church in Greenlawn, Huntington, was held last week, drawing thousands.
The Festival featured Greek food, Greek music and Greek dancing. Vendors and rides were also provided to entertain families and children.
The Festival also highlighted the Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church, and the church's service to the local community.
Several local officials, including Suffolk County Legislator Stephanie Bontempi, Huntington Town Clerk Andy Raia, and Huntington Town Attorney Deborah Misir enjoyed the hospitality and camaraderie of the Festival.
The church is named after Saint Paraskevi, a Greek woman martyred by the Romans around 180 AD. By her great faith and example she converted many to the Christian faith, including a Roman emperor.
Father John Vlahos, pastor of the Church, told the story of Saint Paraskevi:
"Saint Paraskevi was born to Greek Christians living outside Rome on a Friday. Her name in Greek literally means ‘preparation for the sabbath’. Indeed, she went through a crucible of fire. When her parents died, Paraskevi gave away her belongings and led a community of young virgins and widows."
"Arrested by the Romans she was brought to the Emperor, Antonius Pius. When she refused to renounce her faith, she was brutally tortured but appeared unscathed, causing many to convert. Seeing this, Antonius Pius had her put into a boiling vat of oil and tar. She emerged intact. When he accused her of magic, she throw the liquid into his face, blinding him. He desperately asked for her help and she helped him regain his sight. He then converted - and the persecution of Christians ceased."
"Persecution, however, resumed under Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Arrested again, she was brought to the Temple of Apollo, where she again made the sign of the cross and the idols crumbled. This time, however, she was beheaded."
The feast day of Saint Paraskevi is July 26th, and she is considered the Healer of the Blind.